THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN THE WORLD
For the most part, The Chairman/The Most Dangerous Man in the World is a serious film. It is at its best when conducting a portrait of Communist China. This comes with some striking vignettes of peasants in the field being lectured by party members with Little Red Books, even a series of dialogues that allow the Communist Chinese to argue their own case. There is an impressive lavishness of production values and location work in the backlot constructions of the Peoples Republic.
However, director J. Lee Thompson, who made the great Cape Fear (1962) a few years earlier, lacks what it takes to enervate The Chairman as a thriller the moment the film reaches the Chinese mainland, action drags to a standstill and the film becomes slow and talky. The lengthy scenes at the laboratory lack any drama at all, although J. Lee Thompson does get his act together enough to sustain a suspenseful action climax (which has the incongruous image of the Russians becoming the Seventh Cavalry). Hitchcock did much of the same plot better with Torn Curtain (1966) three years earlier.
J. Lee Thompsons other films of genre interest are: the classic revenge psycho-thriller Cape Fear (1962), the occult film Eye of the Devil (1967), Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972), Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973), The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (1975), the Western The White Buffalo (1977) with Charles Bronson hunting a mythic buffalo, the slasher film Happy Birthday to Me (1981), 10 to Midnight (1983) with Charles Bronson vs a serial killer, and the dire adventure film King Solomons Mines (1985). J. Lee Thompson also co-wrote the scripts for the very strange psycho-thriller East of Piccadilly (1940) and the bizarre time travel/adventure film Future Hunters (1986).